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Political Science

Directed Independent Studies

Directed independent study (DIS) courses make it possible for one to six students to work under the guidance of an instructor, on a reading or research project of mutual interest.

Why pursue directed independent studies?

  • Follow a reading or research project in an area not covered in other courses
  • Develop research interests
  • Gain practical research experience
  • Continue a well-developed project begun in another course

What are the prerequisites?

To succeed in a directed studies course, you must be organized, motivated, and able to work independently. A declared major, minor, or extended minor is recommended. Please review the official UFV policy on Directed, Special Topics and Independent Study courses. Refer to the Academic Calendar for specific course prerequisites.

How do you enroll?

  1. Choose an area of interest for your directed studies course.
  2. Find an instructor who shares the interest and is willing to supervise the project. This may require some negotiation with the faculty supervisor to settle on an issue that is of interest to both and of adequate scope for a DIS course. You are expected to have considerable input in the development of the project, but be aware that not all projects will find a willing supervisor. If it is a new course, the department needs to approve the course proposal. The course outline can be designed in consultation with the instructor.
  3. Wait for a confirmation email through your myUFV account.
  4. Once approved, a course registration number (CRN) is generated for the specific DIS section, with the section number beginning with “IS”. You will receive an email through your myUFV account notifying you that you can register.

What are your responsibilities?

You will carry the bulk of the work associated with the project, and a sufficient amount of work must be performed to justify the credit given. This includes the following:

  • Spend at least nine hours per week on the project, for a three-credit course. (Three hours per week for each credit.) This may include the time spent in weekly (or, minimally, bi-weekly) meetings with the instructor.
  • Expect to be evaluated on several pieces of work throughout the term.
  • Attend scheduled meetings.
  • Meet agreed deadlines for handing in work completed.
  • Keep the faculty supervisor apprised of any changes anticipated or problems encountered.
  • At the beginning of the semester, agree on due dates for drafts or milestones in the development of the paper or project and times for instructor-student meetings.
  • Under normal circumstances, complete the project, within one semester, and turn in the final product(s) for grading by the end of the term.

What are the instructor’s responsibilities?

While you are primarily responsible for the design and completion of the paper or project undertaken, instructors must ensure they have sufficient resources to provide appropriate supervision, including:

  • Familiarity with the subject area
  • Availability to attend weekly or bi-weekly meetings
  • Time for the close reading and provision of feedback for pre-completion and submission of work
  • Time for reviewing some of the literature provided by the student

How many directed studies courses can you enroll in a single semester?

You may not enroll in more than one directed studies course in a single semester without the Dean’s permission. Exceptions may be made for students planning to graduate. Contact us if this is your situation.

How many directed studies courses can you apply to your major?

The Political Science major, minor, and extended minor have a maximum on the total number of directed studies courses a student can apply to their major. This is currently 3 credits.